Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Scarlet Letter A

In high school, I was required by my English teacher to read Nathaniel Hawthorne's book The Scarlet Letter. I was captivated by the story of Hester Prynne and the legalism behind her having to wear the scarlet letter "A". While the minister, who was just as much a part of it, walked around free from the public criticism.

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Sometimes I think society is forcing birthmoms to walk around with a scarlet letter "A". A for adoption. You may never know her but you have already labeled her. You ask how she could have possibly given her child up for adoption? Did she not love him enough? Did she not care to share the laughter and the tears over her daughter's first boyfriend? Did she not want to stand with pride in her eyes as her son went into the army?

And so the scarlet stain on her letter A keeps getting a bit darker each time you place that judgement on her.

Oh and you just know she did drugs right? Or drank throughout her whole pregnancy?

That stain just got a little bit redder.

Did you know the she didn't want to wear that A? That she would give anything to have her son back. But that wasn't an option for her. Did you know that she cried until she was gasping for breath when she left her daughter in someone else's arms?

Did you know that she was raped and chose to give that child life rather than death?

Of course you didn't and neither did I until I saw it firsthand. And then I too had to put on my scarlet letter. Except mine wasn't an A, instead it was a J. Stained red for the judgement I had for our own birthmom and others before her.


  1. I'm actually quite the opposite when I think of mom (and dads) who choose to give their child up for adoption. I think in some sense they are the hero's. They *knew* giving this child up would give them a better chance at life and for that I applaud the birth parents for making that choice. If they didn't love that child, they would have chosen the selfish thing and kept them knowing that wasn't what was best for that child. Regardless of the reasons birth parents give their children up, I think they deserve some credit as well.

  2. I agree Salena but in the past I have thought the opposite, and I have found others who have said the same thing. I love your last sentence..perfectly sums it up! :)

  3. We don't think or "sense" we are "heros" just because we placed. Yes, I knew that giving her to her parents would give her a better chance at life and it has proved true these past 5 years. And while I know I made someone's family complete by the hard choice I had to make I would never call myself a hero or an Angel (like they call me). I did what needed to be done for my daughter's best interest. No more, no less. No it wasn't easy and I still ache for her but I am happy that she is thriving and loved and well taken care of.

    As far as the letter "A" we wear, Vanessa has hit it on the mark. Even those that try to be gentle with their questioning and not mention any of the stereotypes, you can still see it in their eyes some relief or confusion when you go against what they think is the "norm" of what type of people we should be.
    BUT when they hear (if I choose to divulge) that my daughter was conceived out of rape, they all automatically assume that was my sole reason of placing her for adoption. Sure in the beginning that was HALF the reason. But when she was born and I saw that sweet INNOCENT angel face I had to reevaluate my reason for adoption and realized that in reality 85% of my original reasons for adoption were still there. I was not in the right place in my life to be able to raise a child and for her to have every door open to her for her future.

  4. Amalaa-Your comment meant the world to me. Thank you so very, very much!


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